Monday, June 18, 2018

Floating clown mouth: Review of Colourpop Lux Lipstick in Getty

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It's fun for me to see unconventional hair colors becoming more mainstream. If we have to experience all the terrible things predicted by dystopian fiction, it's a small consolation to also have people walking around with blue and green and purple hair. A very, very small consolation for those of us with the luxury of of being consoled. But despite the fact that every drugstore makeup brand sells blue and green and purple lipstick now, I still rarely see it on people's actual faces in the wild. How much you see it may depend on where you live, but I live in one of the biggest cities in the country, and it's still a rare sight. I'm hoping it'll become less remarkable before it goes out of style, just like it was still unusual to see shimmery blue nail polish in the mid-90s, but now no one bats an eye at it.

Despite my hopes and dreams, not all garish lipsticks are for everyone. Disregarding that truth, I impulsively bought Colourpop's Lux Lipstick in Getty soon after it appeared (well, as impulsive as it is to wait to see how Temptalia reviews it), even though I have a poor track record when it comes to actually wearing odd lipsticks in public. I bought it anyway, because teal is my favorite color--and because I work in museums and currently live in L.A., and it's called Getty. I don't remember ever buying something based on the name before, so it was a weird moment, I guess.

For $7, this is a pretty fantastic teal lipstick. In fact, it would be a fantastic lipstick at any price. It's smooth, pigmented, and comfortable. It feels hydrating. It wears surprisingly well for a green lipstick. If anything, my only minor complaint is with the packaging. While I think the design is stunning, especially the stars on the side of the lipstick bullet itself, in going for that "luxe" impression (not lux, which just means light in Latin), they've made the tube heavier and larger than a typical lipstick. It's made of metal, which explains the weight. But that combined with the size just make it that much more awkward to apply. Here it is compared to a Revlon tube, which is a standard size. The Lux Lipstick is both taller and bigger in diameter.


This is a minor quibble, but being positive all the time makes me queasy. The increased awkwardness is probably only a problem because with a dark, vibrant shade like Getty, precision is that much more important. Here's Getty applied from the bullet, blotted once, and then layered again. A little messy.


Fortunately I have an eyeliner in almost this exact color, so I was able to use that to clean up the edges and get a nicer shape. (Of course Ulta discontinued the shade I used, because it was perfect, but Urban Decay Mainline looks similar). If you're good with a lip brush, I'm sure that would work just as well.


Getty really is a gorgeous lipstick. It has a subtly glossy finish with just enough translucency to give it depth without being at all sheer. And it's a perfect teal, right in the middle of blue and green.

Unfortunately, it's just not my color. Unlike that evil blue lipstick I tried, which looked surprisingly flattering, Getty gives me what I would call floating clown lips (hence the title of the post). It's like someone drew a cartoon mouth and stuck it to my face.


I mean, I don't think it's hideous or anything. But it's not exactly harmonious. Or effortless. Maybe it could work with a more glam or elaborate overall look, but that's not really my style. (Also, this is the best facial expression I could muster? I've been having a bad selfie streak lately.)

Maybe this will just have to be a souvenir of my time in Los Angeles (and a warning against more green lipsticks). I still recommend it for anyone who thinks it might flatter them or who doesn't give a shit about flattery. It's a good lipstick. And teal!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Why am I looking at garbage? (Or: Empties)

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I think empties posts are a little divisive (boring or voyeuristically fascinating?), but I like that they provide mini reviews for products that someone has tested really thoroughly. Plus, for selfish reasons, I like to keep my own record of what I've used in case I want to try/avoid those things in the future.

Makeup empties (photo above) are the rarest of empties, so I don't usually have this many in a single batch. Then again, it's not like I finished a blush or a lipstick or an eyeshadow palette. Mascaras and concealers are much more frequently used up and tossed out.

Left to right above:

L'Oréal Lineur Intense Felt Tip in Earthen Rock Brown: Reviewed briefly here. This was my favorite liquid eyeliner for years and years until it was unfortunately discontinued. I love a brown liquid liner for a more subtle everyday look than black. Right now I'm using Lancôme Artliner in Brown, which is very similar, but much more expensive, of course. I also have the brown version of the Physician's Formula liquid liner (reviewed here in black) waiting in the wings.

YSL Touche Éclat in 2 Luminous Ivory: I got this in a marked-down, now sold-out, Sephora Favorites kit, and I wouldn't have bought it on its own. It makes a decent sheer/casual under-eye concealer and non-shimmery highlight. I just think you can get similar products for a lower price, like Maybelline's. Also, it has a faint lavender scent that might not appeal to everyone.

Sephora Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer in Fondant: Reviewed here. This is the third tube of Gel Serum Concealer I've finished. I used a Swoon wand to scrape out what the doe foot couldn't reach (even after removing the stopper), which gave me at least another good month of use. I recently (stupidly) decided I'd try something new and bought a tube of the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye concealer. Big mistake. Huge. It must only work for very dry skinned people, because it disappeared from my face in a couple of hours. I've already ordered a new tube of Gel Serum from Sephora. Why mess with perfection?

Wet N Wild Lash Primer: Reviewed here. Not an actual empty, but it had started to smell funky, so I tossed it. Lash primer just doesn't do much for me, so I didn't get through it.

Essence Eyebrow Designer Pencil in Soft Blonde (above): This isn't a true taupe (nor does it claim to be) but it's cooler/taupier than most affordable eyebrow pencils that are actually called "taupe." It's a good texture (i.e. hardness) and color for my brows at the moment, and for $2 I'd forgive a lot (though luckily I don't have to). I'm on my second pencil now. I have a bunch of brow products to review--I should get on that.

Tarte Tarteist Lash Paint mascara (mini): This was a perfectly serviceable mascara. Provided volume and length. Didn't wow me so much that I'd buy it, but it was just fine.

Black Radiance Eyeshadow Primer: Reviewed here. This is a great primer. I didn't completely finish it, but I find that most primers last me so long that they get to the point where they don't perform quite as well as they once did before I finish them. I'm talking well over a year, though, so I'm cool with it.


Look at all this skin care! Let me direct you to previous reviews and be as brief as possible to save all of our sanity.

Starting at the top left:

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Swivel Stick: Reviewed here. I don't even know how many tubes of this I've used up so far! I have another one going now.

CosRx Acne Pimple Master Patches: Reviewed here. I've gone through many of these too.

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid: Reviewed here. A new staple. I'm on my second tube.

Simple Micellar Water: Not the best I've ever used, but usually the cheapest, so I'm using my second bottle of it now.

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Gel (packet): A decent light moisturizer.

The Ordinary Matrixyl 1-% + HA: I will review this soon, but there's not much more to say than that it was a good hydrating serum. Nothing mind-blowing.

Paula's Choice Calm Redness Relief Serum: Another good hydrating serum, but it didn't help my redness a whole lot. I won't buy it again.

Acure Organics Rosehip Oil: This is kind of cheating, because it was getting old so I dumped it into a bottle of body oil. I've finally come to terms with the fact that even though rosehip oil is nice, it always causes milia around my eyes, so I need to let it go.

Paula's Choice Ultra Light Super Antioxidant Serum: Reviewed here. The tube is full size--I cut it in half to get the last drops out. This hydrating serum is my favorite, but I'm looking at alternatives, because it's too expensive. The e.l.f. essence I reviewed here is serving as a workable replacement at the moment, despite the fact that it's not actually a serum.

Farmacy Honey Savior Salve (packet): If you're into that #sluglife, where you coat your face with a heavy occlusive layer at night to lock in the moisture, this is an excellent option--except that it's very expensive, so you could just get some Vaseline or Aquaphor or CeraVe ointment to serve the same purpose. I like the packets for traveling, though.

Korres Golden Krocus Elixir (mini): An ok hydrating serum, though it has strong fragrance and shimmer in it. I'm way more excited about having a tiny dropper bottle to use for travel than I was about the actual product, to be honest.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel (mini): Looking for a more affordable replacement for my old favorite Paula's Choice Moisture Gel, but this wasn't quite it, although it did what it said it would do.

Avène Eau Thermal spray (mini): I feel a bit ridiculous for liking this. It's water in a can. Sorry, mineral water in a can. It is awfully refreshing on a hot and sweaty day, though. But like, you could just buy some mineral water and put it in your own spray bottle.

Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Hydrating Treatment Mask: Reviewed here. A great product that I did not finish, because it's huge, and I only needed to use it once every week or two. It was getting old, even for my extremely lax standards, so I decided to let it go. I don't know if I would buy it again, though the price isn't bad compared to other Paula's products.

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Cloud Cream: A very nice, light, moisturizing gel that would be a great replacement for Paula's Choice Moisture Gel, except that the full size comes in a jar and is even more expensive than Paula's.

Glamglow Glowstarter: Shimmery pink lotion that smells extremely strongly of creamsicle. I used it on my legs.

Origins Gin-Zing Gel Moisturizer: Got this one for free from Influenster. Again, it's fine, except for the jar and the very strong GoJo industrial orange soap smell. And the price.

Paula's Choice Moisture Boost Cleanser: I really like this cleanser for being effective but not drying, but there are equally good cleansers out there for less money.

Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid: I've been using this for over a decade now! My skin is always clearer and happier when I use it. But I recently decided to try the CosRx BHA Liquid instead, because Paula's Choice prices are rising faster than inflation.

That's really the theme here: finishing up the Paula's Choice products that I've relied on for years and trying to find more affordable replacements. When I first started using Paula's Choice, the prices weren't bad at all, even though I had to pay in Canadian dollars. Then I posted my referral link on this blog a few years ago, which tons of people used, so I had enough credits to continue using the brand even while prices crept up. I tried to point out in reviews whether I thought I would still buy something even without a credit. After their referral program ended and prices continued to climb, I'm now at the stage where it's just not feasible for me to buy multiple $30-50 basics each year when there are cheaper options out there. The one thing I haven't yet found a good replacement for, as you can see from the above, is the Moisture Gel. I'm currently using Marcelle's Lumipower moisturizer, which is a gel in a pump, but it's only worth it because I got it in a value set. At full price, it's about the same as Paula's.


Just a few staple hair and body products to finish off the list, and I can conveniently link to this post for reviews of all of them but the perfume! I've used multiple bottles/cans/tubes/jars of each of these. The Chloe and Replica Beach Walk fragrance samples weren't favorites, so I used them as room/closet sprays.

Let me know if you have questions about any of these things! It's always gratifying for me to use things up instead of just hoarding them. But I probably shouldn't pat myself on the back too much until the day you see an empty lipstick in one of these posts.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Easiest waves: Living Proof Perfect Hair Day In Shower Styler Review

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Living Proof Perfect Hair Day In Shower Styler Review

I'm not a hair person. Really not. For all my interest in skincare and makeup, all I want from my hair is to look halfway decent with the minimum possible effort. Fortunately I've always had naturally very straight hair, so while I've envied wavy and curly hair, I also appreciate that my hair type suits my laissez-faire approach (a different kind of straight privilege). My usual "styling" involves applying a little smoothing/detangling serum to my wet hair, combing through it with my Wet Brush (briefly reviewed here), and letting it air dry. Often I use a big mascara wand with liquid gel or hairspray on it to smooth the flyaways on either side of my part. If I'm feeling extremely ambitious, I might blow-dry it with a round brush, but even then I usually get bored and stop before my hair is completely dry.

Some time last year I noticed that my hair was sometimes doing something that almost approximated waviness. Like, probably not enough that another reasonable person would apply the "wavy" label to it, but it had slightly more body and texture than it'd had in the past for some reason. I got a mini-tube of this Living Proof In-Shower Styler in a Sephora Play box, and when I used it, even with limited instructions, the waviness was amplified. Exciting! Once I'd finished the mini, I bought a full-size that came with more detailed directions for use, and finally I could achieve actual, noticeable waves with almost no work. I'll explain how I think it works best for my hair type below.

Recently I chopped off my long hair to just above my shoulders. While I'm enjoying the length, it's not the best shape. It has a tendency to flip out at the bottom even if I curl it under, and it puffs out to an annoying triangular shape. I know I could go back to get it fixed, but I really don't enjoy getting haircuts, and so I'm just dealing with it for now. I've found, however, that I like it much, much better wavy than straight. The waves seem to disguise the flaws in the cut, and I've always been enamored of a wavy or curly bob anyway.

As a point of comparison, here is how my hair looks if I use shampoo, conditioner, and a little smoothing serum, and then let it air dry. It's just a pyramid of meh.


Here's how it looks after using the Living Proof In-Shower Styler:


Much better, I think! (Why the color looks so much different, I don't know. It seems to shift a lot depending on the lighting.)

So, the way this stuff works is that you shampoo and condition your hair, and then you apply enough of it to completely coat your hair from roots to ends. You rinse it, but only very briefly. You should still be able to feel the slippery texture of the product in your hair after rinsing. If you use too little product or rinse it too thoroughly, you won't get much wave. If you use too much product, it'll be a little crunchy and wet-looking, rather than soft and natural. It takes some trial and error to get it right. You can lightly towel dry and then periodically scrunch your hair as it dries, with no additional product (which is what I usually do). (For others with straight hair who have never had a reason to scrunch, there are good gifs here to illustrate the technique.) If you want curlier hair, however, you can also try plopping, which I've done with nice results. (And here is how to plop your hair--a long-sleeved t-shirt works great.)

Here's how my (naturally straight! remember!) hair looks while it's still wet, just after towel drying and scrunching with the In-Shower Styler:

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day In Shower Styler Review

When it's dry, you can comb your fingers through it or scrunch it some more to soften the texture. That's it! It's very simple and not at all time-consuming. I usually get similar waves to the ones I can create with a straight iron, which isn't exactly labor-intensive, but that's a less lazy method for sure.

My favorite part is that I can wash my hair and use the In-Shower Styler before bed, do the whole scrunching thing, and go to bed before it's completely dry. In the morning, I can just wet my hands and scrunch it again to get nice waves back. I'm sure spritzing with water would work too. I do this on the second day, too, instead of washing again. (Dry shampoo forever!)

There are other products out there that will probably get you similar results, but this stuff has the advantage of only taking a few seconds in the shower and leaving me with smooth, fairly shiny waves in the end. It also happens to smell great, and my tube has lasted me for months of (not daily, but) regular use.

Here's another photo to show the air-dried waves from the side:


It worked when I had long hair too, but the waves were a bit looser, naturally.

For someone like me who has always wanted waves but has been too lazy to work at it, it's fucking sorcery. The cheapest place I've seen the Living Proof In-Shower Styler is on Amazon. ULTA also sells a travel size, if you're not sure you want to commit. Highly recommended!

Obviously the techniques I'm describing in this post will be familiar to many, if not most, people with natural curl, but in the past I'd never had occasion to use them, so I had to do a little research first. I'd be curious to hear how this product works for people who already have naturally wavy or curly hair, since the instructions say it can be used for a range of hair textures. Let me know if you've tried it!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

New and improved? The new Wet N Wild Comfort Zone palette compared to the original

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Review of new Wet N Wild Comfort Zone palette compared to the original

I have something of a series now comparing reformulated Wet N Wild products with their predecessors (here and here), among them some of my favorite affordable makeup. Those previously revamped products didn't exactly measure up to the originals in my comparisons, so I have to admit I had serious doubts about the new Wet N Wild Comfort Zone palette. Why change something that has been consistently recommended as one of the best drugstore eyeshadow palettes on the market?

I've been thinking the answer to that question for a while. Unlike many redesigns by other brands, Wet N Wild didn't reduce the product size while jacking up the price. In fact, the price has remained the same, while the weight has actually increased (minimally) from 0.3 to 0.32 oz. Because two new matte shades were added, and they are in the largest pans, that should mean that the size of each of the original shades has decreased, however, which is worth noting.

If I had to guess why the change was made, I'd point to the fragility of the shadows, and maybe the packaging too. I can't be sure, but I do know lots of people complained about their Wet N Wild shadows crumbling and shattering with the slightest bump. I don't know if you can see it in the photo above, but the duochrome in the in bottom right of my old palette does has a small chunk missing--I have no idea when or how that happened. If the eyeshadows broke too often after people bought them, you have to assume that they also frequently broke in transit and while they were in stores, so the amount of product discarded might not have made up for the number of sales. (I'd be curious to hear if anyone's new palette has crumbled, but the shadows seem a bit more durable to me.) Of course, there's also the fact that a new release/re-release generates publicity and increases sales.

I've had my OG Comfort Zone palette since 2011 or 2012, and despite appearances, I've used it quite a lot. It has intense, smooth, metallic shimmers that perform really well. I'm not such a fan of the matte shades with glitter ("Definer" on the left and "Crease" on the right) though they are decent for lining the eyes. I like it so much that the reformulation had a lot to live up to. I'm not going to do a full review of each palette, but I am going to compare each shade and show you some swatches and eye looks.

Here is the first row of shimmers, in the (new) order of the new palette, starting with the left hand column. All applied over Wet N Wild primer (reviewed here) to make the colors and finishes as clear as possible for comparison. The old version is on the left and the new version is on the right.

Wet N Wild Comfort Zone comparison swatches

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Deal Alert: Marcelle Skincare Set over 75% off on Birchbox

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Just a quick post to let you know about this great Marcelle skincare set I bought from Birchbox last week, which is still available. For $15 you get a full-size moisturizer, a full-size micellar water, a full-size gel makeup remover, and a mini bi-phase makeup remover. It's cheaper than buying the moisturizer ($27) or even the micellar water ($17) alone. It also comes with a travel bag that seems to be fairly sturdy and useful. I just got mine, so all I've used so far is the moisturizer, which is a lovely light gel formula--and unlike most gels, comes in an airless pump, not a jar. I've used the bi-phase makeup remover in the past, though, and it's extremely effective.

Shipping is $5 (or free over $50).

(When I bought my set last week, there was also a 25% off code that Birchbox hasn't bothered to stop advertising on the brand page, but it's expired. Awesome deal nonetheless!)
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